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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Re: Rethinking Licensing

Eric Armstrong wrote:
> Well, I can see that this is a hot button issue.    (01)

True, though we can try to keep things cordial. 
I have the greatest respect for your abilities and insights.    (02)

> But I thought that most people on this list disliked the viral nature of
> the GPL.    (03)

Well apparently some do, and some don't.    (04)

>  As long as we're arguing by analogy, that's like saying
> that if you used my free textbook explaining the laws of physics,
> then everything you manufacture has to be free.    (05)

Well, to be clearer, assumign such were the case, it woudl say if you
freely choose to use this textbook, then you must freely give of the
results. But, you don't have to use the book.     (06)

Contrast this with the situation where someone like Microsoft says,
everyone is using this book, and so you must use it, and by the way, to
use it you need to pay this tax of 10% of revenues plus your first born.    (07)

> Of course, I may misunderstand the GPL -- I've only listen with half
> an ear when these discussions go by.    (08)

They can be vexing and convoluted, I agree.    (09)

> And there is a strong case that the world would have been better
> off without the profit incentive. We might still be living without
> plumbing, but at least we wouldn't be chewing up the ecosystem
> at such an alarming rate.    (010)

We may not have plumbing much longer if the profit motive driving the
creation of weapons of mass destruction continues...    (011)

> But I think it's fair to say that the world would be a lot different
> than it turned out, had such a license been applied to books, as
> it is now being applied to software.    (012)

I might point out that a long time ago copyright was a lot shorter, and
things still got published -- like Shakespeare. In fact, if copyright
was logner then, current dominant players liek Disney coudl not have
reworked folk tales into franchises.    (013)

> I would say that if we basically don't want software development,
> because of its capacity for harm, then this is as good a way as any
> to prevent. Make it impossible to make a living at it, and certainly
> no "dominating force" will ever come into existence.    (014)

I disagree. Your assumption here is code only gets developed as an
investment for resale. Sorry. As I pointed out in a prior reply to John
Maloney today, only about 15% of IT dollars are spent on shrinkwrapped
software (using various figures). So, the other 85% would still be spent
regardless.     (015)

The issue is more, do programmers learn the rules defined by a dominant
for-profit organization like Microsoft, or do they learn the rules of a
free community?    (016)

> Of course, there is a lot more that won't come into existence, as
> well, because we'll all be making a living selling cars and what not.
> We'll code for fun, but that's about it.    (017)

Again, over a trillion dollars a year would still be spent on IT if all
shrinkwrapped software was free.    (018)

> I think the answer really lies in the middle ground somewhere.
> Unfettered capitalism is a disaster. Companies without conscience
> have made that clear. Socialism was equally a disaster. But
> well-constrained capitalism, like well-refereed football players,
> can have a lot of fun and get a lot done without hurting people.    (019)

All motives are "selfish" -- just the definition fo self changes,
sometimes smaller (meme, person), sometimes larger (family, company,
community, gaia).    (020)

> GPL strikes me as socialistic. MS strikes me as way to unfettered
> for anyone's taste. The middle ground strikes me as productive.    (021)

Politicians tried the middle ground before in the Civil War with the
Missouri compromise.
Worked for a while (ignoring the suffering of slaves, or nowadays,
millions of Aids victims each year in Africa).     (022)

Didn't work in the end, and lead to one of the most bloody conflicts in
U.S. history.     (023)

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software 
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com    (024)

> Paul Fernhout wrote:
> > The point is that we need a system that fights domination prone systems.
> > Your system just is another domination prone one -- not a
> > meta-domination-unprone one like the GPL.    (025)